Shoppers Still Choose Value over Brand Names

By Ap | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 4, 1994 | Go to article overview

Shoppers Still Choose Value over Brand Names


Ap, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Cheerios or Wheat-Os?

President's Choice chocolate chip cookies or Chips Ahoy?

Tide or Rinso?

When it's time to buy, a growing number of consumers are showing more loyalty to their pocketbooks than to brand names, says a survey released Tuesday.

The Food Marketing Institute's annual consumer trends survey found a 19-percent increase in the number of shoppers who are buying lower-priced or store brands - a trend that doesn't bode well for battered national brands.

"Upscale store brands are gaining quickly in popularity with both distributors and shoppers," said Tim Hammond, president of FMI.

Shoppers this year are less worried about their finances. Only 32 percent cited economic issues as the single most important issue facing them this year, compared with 53 percent a year ago.

But the issue of food prices remained at least somewhat important to 96 percent of consumers. Last year, 27 percent complained they weren't getting the lowest prices possible.

The telephone survey was conducted early this year by Opinion Research Inc., which questioned 2,018 male and female shoppers. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Despite rising prices on many goods, a family of four still spends about $90 a week on groceries, the survey found for a fifth year in a row. To keep within their budgets, 50 percent either regularly buy either store brands or lower-priced brands.

"A lot of private labels are getting closer and closer to the major brands in terms of quality and taste," said Cynthia Davis, executive vice president for private-label cereal marketer U.S. Mills Inc. "Given that, people are looking at the lower price and saying, `I'll buy this instead.' "

National brand sales dropped last year to $105. …

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